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In her Introduction to the book Sexuality in Muslim Contexts: Restrictions and Resistance (ZED Book, UK), Anissa Helie discusses the notion of "Muslimness" and how such a homogenizing notion, if unchallenged, may serve to justify the policing of sexuality in various Muslim countries and communities.

The book itself looks at emerging trends that affect women’s sexuality, with a particular focus on Asia and the Middle East, and documents both the curtailing of sexual rights occurring in diverse Muslim societies and the strategies designed to counter these developments.

Yet this focus in no way suggests that the policing of gender and sexuality is unique to Muslim societies: rather, bodily rights, sexual conduct and gender expression are regulated in all societies. Throughout the world, a range of actors – from families to communities to governments – refer selectively to ‘Western values’, ‘Christian values’, ‘African values’, ‘Jewish tradition’ or ‘Muslimness’ to justify stigmatization and repression.



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